Wednesday 17 January 2018

'He was like my family; It's painful to watch' – Formula One chief on Michael Schumacher's plight

Jean Todt and Michael Schumacher during their time working together at Ferrari
Jean Todt and Michael Schumacher during their time working together at Ferrari
Declan Whooley

Declan Whooley

FIA president Jean Todt has revealed his difficulty in watching on helplessly as Formula One legend Michael Schumacher remains in a coma.

It is now more than two years since the German's horrific skiing accident where he suffered serious head injuries after going off-piste on the French Alps in December 2013.

He was later placed in a medically induced coma to keep his condition stable.

Official updates on Schumacher, who turned 47 two weeks ago, have been kept minimal.

Todt was Ferrari team principal for five of Schumacher's world titles while his son, Nicolas, was manager of the late Jules Bianchi, who died last year from head injuries sustained at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.

"I will not compare them," Todt said recently. "I knew Jules through my son . It is terrible to lose someone in an accident. For Michael is it different because he was like my family. When you have someone who is family, who is very close, when they are injured it is painful and you have to be with them."

"For Michael it is different because he is like my family and if you have somebody who is like family or is very close and is badly injured of course it is painful and you have to be there with the family. Tonight I will be there for him. That is the bad side of life."

Schumacher's long-term manager Sabine Kehm moved to quash speculation last month that his condition had improved and strongly criticised the "irresponsible" reporting.

"Unfortunately, we are forced by a recent press report to clarify that the assertion that Michael could move again is not true," she said.

"Such speculation is irresponsible, because given the seriousness of his injuries, his privacy is very important for Michael.

"Unfortunately they also given false hopes to many people involved."

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